tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC June 29, 2010 12:00am-1:00am EDT
tunes. >> order in the court. let's play "hardball." i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, tradition and change. two huge stories are dominating washington today. both involving the departure of an institutional figure in the arc of the nation's history and the person who will replace him. the first involves elena kagan nominated to replace john paul stevens on the supreme court. kagan made her opening statement at her senate hearings today. we've already seen the republican game plan portray kagan as some sort of elite westside new york liberal.
will they try to filibuster her? the second is the death of robert byrd, the longest serving senator in american history. who was he, and who will replace him? we'll get into all of that. plus, does the u.s. actually have a plan to win the war in afghanistan? does anyone think so? a lot worry we're just sending young americans to war, but can't admit the strategy has failed. also, president obama's poll numbers are at lows for his presidency, but maybe he began to find his rhythm last week with the firing of general mcchrystal and the agreement on financial reform. are we looking at the beginning of a turnaround? and let me finish with a tribute to a senator who shared my deep american objection to the iraq war. we begin with the kagan hearings today. here's the nominee in her opening statement late this afternoon. >> i will listen hard to every party before the court and to each of my colleagues. i will work hard, and i will do my best to consider every case impartially, modestly, with commitment to principle and in accordance with law. >> senator charles schumer is a new york democrat and a member
of the judiciary committee. senator, thank you for joining us. i want you to listen to something that was said today. a very tough charge by the ranking republican on judiciary. here he is criticizing elena kagan, the supreme court nominee for her position in supporting that boycott of military recruiters at harvard law school. let's listen to this senator. >> during her time as dean at harvard, miss kagan reversed the existing policy and kicked the military out of the recruiting office in violation of federal law. her actions punished the military and demeaned our soldiers as they were courageously fighting for our country in two wars overseas. >> pretty tough stuff. he's accused the nominee of demeaning our officers serving in the field. >> yeah, i think it's a little bit over the top and i don't think it will stick. what kagan did at harvard law school was try to combine her own personal belief that will don't ask, don't tell was wrong.
but at the same time not prevent military recruiting. and the recruiters were able to recruit at harvard. a little bit through a separate program. the proof of the pudding is in the eating. military recruitment actually went up during her tenure. she hardly kicked them out. that's the wrong word. >> let's look at something else. this is on terrorism. another shot by senator jeff sessions, the ranking republican on judiciary. let's listen. >> dean kagan also joined with three other law school deans to write a letter in opposition to senator graham's legislation stake procedures for determining who was an enemy combatant in the war on terror. she compared this legislation which passed 48-14 to the fundamentally lawless actions of dictatorships. >> well, there he is. and by the way, this is part of a barrage of attacks, senator,
as you know. he began the hearings by basically saying she's anti-military, pro-terrorist. pro illegal immigrant. i mean, just about every attack culturally. later on, one of the senators said her sign post is on upper westside of new york. it was regional. i don't know what it was. it was definitely making her into a big new york liberal, the enemy of the people. whatever. it was pretty strong stuff. >> it was strong stuff, but in a sense it was so over the top it's not going to stick. i think her testimony itself, which is what people will focus on rebuts all of these sort of over the top type language because not only did she talk about modesty, her whole demeanor was modest. the way she spoke, what she said. her body language. when the american people see her, they won't see a wild-eyed radical. they're going to see a very sensible, moderate woman who worked hard, who's very smart but very practical who has a great record. so i don't think this stuff is going to stick. >> we all know this. there seems to be a big cultural
geographic fight in the country. if you look at your fellow members on the judiciary, they're all from sun belt states. alabama, sessions. utah, arizona, texas. south carolina. these sun belt states all lining up against northeasterns, sort of the cosmopolitan settings, the ivy league. there's a lot of attitude in those members. are they fighting primary challenges in the party. what's going on here? it's pretty right wing stuff? >> it is very right-wing stuff. i don't know if they're fighting potential primary challenges, but on this issue, frankly both sides appeal to the base. it's not one of those issues that brings out moderation. but at the end of the day the nominees are quite moderate. kagan is mowed moderate. you could point to the fact that she defended the materiality provision and was praised by a few republicans on the issue of terrorism.
you could point to the fact, again, that she allowed military recruiting when many universities didn't at all, even during those very sort of hot times on that issue. and so she's always sort of tried to find a practical middle ground. that's how she comes across. that's who she is. that's why these hearings are good. the american people aren't going to decide what's exactly her view on this specific case. but they're going to get a feel for who she is and what she's like, and they're going to like her. >> i think she got hit on one point. that was the question of business people hiring people in the country illegally. that don't really have a right to work in this country. she said she filed a brief against arizona on that particular issue. here it is. let's look at what he said about kagan's position on illegal immigration and what employers should have to face if they hire somebody illegally. >> also, as solicitor general, miss kagan approved a filing of a brief to the supreme court asking that it strike down provisions of the legal arizona workers' act which suspends or
revokes business licenses of corporations which knowingly hire illegal immigrants even though federal law expressly prohibits such hiring. >> yeah, again -- >> well, what's wrong with a state matching up to federal purpose in terms of stopping illegal hiring? >> well, first, she did that i believe as solicitor general. so she was there being a lawyer. and representing the views of the administration. look, i'm pretty tough on illegal immigration, but there are a lot of ways to skin this cat. there are many different views on how to do it. the american people, frankly, if you look at the polling on immigration, they certainly don't like illegal immigration, but they are not, for the most draconian of measures. they are for a sort of sensible
program on imgray, a moderate program, not what the left wants. that's for sure. but a moderate program. again, she's going to be in that place and be right where the american people are. >> what's wrong with taking on the businesses who hire illegal immigrants. they're the magnet for the illegal immigration, the business people that hire them. >> first the question is what is knowing. are you supposed to know that the driver's license that they give you or the social security card they give you is forged? there are all kinds of problems with that kind of law. it's vaguely drafted. it will lead to all kinds of economic disruption. i would correct it by, lindsay graham and i require a secure social security card with a biometric that can't be forges and throw the book at employers. >> you're one of the good guys. i have been saying this, by the way, not just because you're here because you and say graham and a couple other people like john kerry are truly for comprehensive reform. truly stopping illegal immigration. not throwing people out of the country. not being unhuman. but stop this economic draw that creates a legality and all the the problems. you're doing the right thing. thank you so much. >> my guess is that's where kagan is, too.
>> thank you very much. senator chuck schumer of new york on the judiciary committee. >> bye-bye. >> joining me right now is senator ted kaufman from delaware. same question to you as i've been putting to chuck schumer. this is pretty rough stuff. i've been saying this morning watching the hearing, it's almost to use an old crude phrase, to turn the nominee into a voodoo doll. they keep putting pins in her as a way of getting at president obama. >> yeah, well, look, you know, what the thing is say if you don't have the facts, bang the table. as you know, you've been through these things. this is my 12th one. the more violent and the more over the top the charges get, it means they have less and less that's having an impact. so i think right now, elena kagan is in a very enviable place. they've been firing at her since she was nominated. so far, none of it is sticking. they'll try over the top charges. it won't stick either. >> here's an interesting array of charges. a lot of people would say getting into princeton or
harvard law would be an honor. listen to senator kyle of arizona. these are like a rap sheet. wait till you hear him describe her background. let's listen. >> not only is miss kagan's background unusual for a supreme court nominee, it's not clear how it demonstrates that she has, in the president's words, a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the american people. one recent article noted that miss kagan's experience draws from a world whose sign posts are distant from most americans. manhattan's upper west side, princeton university, harvard law school and the upper reaches of the democratic legal establishment. >> i love the phrase the upper reaches. >> if we use harvard law school as a disqualifier, how many of the republican members of the supreme court went to harvard law school? there's a bunch of them. >> i think roberts definitely went there. >> that's right. where did scalia go? anyway --
>> i know clarence thomas went to yale. even a better law school. >> when you listen to what they're saying, they're accusing her of being like, heaven forbid, thurgood marshall. oh, my goodness. how can you say that? i wonder how many members would vote against thurgood marshall off the supreme court. the way they were throwing his name around. i wonder if they would have voted for him for the supreme court. >> let me try this. i don't know if you heard my conversation with senator schumer. it's so geographic. people from south carolina, utah, oklahoma, texas, wherever going after her -- arizona, blasting her from being from the northeast. that's the main attack line. basically it's red states. on the floor and in these hearings, many republican colleagues are talking back to their home state. it isn't part of any strategy. they talk back to their home
state. we look at these states. these are very red states. this country is really split. they represent very red states. and that's what they talk about. >> are they really running against j.d. hayworth and the guy who's knocked off bob bennett? are they really running against more conservative, more right wing primary opponents, and that's why they're putting on the show today? >> even before that. when i came back here, you know, i had been away for a while. i came back. it seems that listening to them on the floor when i'm presiding. the whole thing is very, very playing to the base. they're following on in kind of the bush tradition of playing to the base. i don't think it's anything beyond that. >> you're a very intellectual fellow. you're in trouble. thank you very much. senator ted kaufman. your discernment is going to get new trouble. when we return, senator robert byrd. what does the death of the longest serving member of the united states senate mean for history? you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. got it. ["dueling banjos" up and under] hold this. getting cash back on your debit card changes everything. got it. introducing the chase realcash debit card. got it.
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john mccain and j.d. hayworth will meet in back-to-back debates next month. mark your calendars. the debates are set for july 16th and 17th. mccain agreed to the debates after a very bad week for hayworth who had to explain yes appeared in an infomercial for the national grants conference business. that definitely was off message. all about how to get money from the federal government. they'll be joined by a third candidate. navy veteran and conservative activists who could draw support from hayworth in a three-way race. maybe this is mccain's strategy. get the far right to split. we'll be right back. with progressive lenses for just $25 more per pair. hurry in to sears optical today and don't miss a thing. the kincaids live here. across the street, the padillas. ben and his family live here, too. ben's a re/max agent, and he's a big part of this community. there are lots of reasons why re/max agents average more sales than other agents. experience, certainly. but maybe it's also because they care about the markets they serve
he never lost sight of home. he may have spent half a century in washington, but there's a guy, if anybody wonders, he never, never, never took his eye off his beloved mountain state. we shall not, to paraphrase the pope, we shall not see his like again. and the senate is a lesser place for his going. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was vice president joe biden on the loss of our longest
serving u.s. senator who died earlier today. joining me today are two people who knew the senator well. the former washington monthly editor charlie peters, one of the great neoliberal reformers of all time. i'm sure to read his book. and west virginia congressman allen mahen. thanks for joining us. congressman, you worked with bobby byrd in his later years. what was the story on this guy? he started as a klansman. he ended up with a 100% rating with the civil rights groups. what turned his heart in a state with few minorities? >> chris, america has lost a real statesman. west virginia has lost its best advocate and the united states senate's also strongest spokesman for standing up for the prerogatives of the legislative branch. senator byrd, as you allude to, has a compelling personal story. an orphan raised by his mother's sister. a coal miner.
he worked hard for everything he got. he even went toe law school after he was in the united states senate. he was driven, intellectual. full of integrity. and just a marvelous legislator. a student of the legislative process. he did change over the years. obviously, he changed with the times. but at the core, he was grounded in his personal history. he was grounded in his west virginia roots. he stood by those faithfully all during his service. he was a wonderful friend and mentor to me. and a wonderful representative for the state of west virginia. >> charlie peters, you know what i liked about him? >> when everybody else forgot the constitution when we went to war in iraq this guy stood up and reminded us. it didn't work. the country fell for bush. but he's a guy that said we don't start wars. we play defense in wars. we don't play offense.
>> i was proud of him. i was proud of him particularly because i'm from west virginia. and i know what courage that stand took for him to take. because west virginia has a long tradition of being pro-military. if you say something that seems to be against supporting our troops in any way, you're taking a political risk. bob byrd, even though he had been reelected over again by huge majorities like every snoir know, he was worried to death about being re-elected and he still had the courage to make that speech. >> he ran scared for 100 years. here he is opposing the war in iraq. let's listen. >> when did we decide to risk undermining international order by adopting a radical approach to using our awesome military might? how can we abandon diplomatic
efforts when the turmoil in the world cries out for diplomacy. >> well, congressman, i don't know if you agree with me. but i like the fact that this guy from the country, a country boy, understood the law the big city guys forgot about. we don't start wars. we play defense. who is coming in to replace him? what's going to happen down there? >> i don't know. but can i just say that there he is speaking out for the prerogatives of the legislative branch saying the president of the united states ought not to be doing it without congressional input. when i said he was a mentor, congressman rahal and i both felt better voting against the issue invasion with his position on it. he was strong. he stood up and we're going to miss him for all those reasons. this is a day senator byrd passed. it's too early for me to even think about what happens after senator byrd. >> down there we're hearing a lot of machinations but it's going to be a democrat, right? >> oh, sure.
>> so it's not going to affect carter's 60 votes. i just saw jimmy carter. watching a picture of him. it's not going to affect president obama's 60 votes. >> no. >> let me ask you about west virginia and the politics. down there. coal. here's a guy that was talking about coal mine safety. senator byrd. congressman, we've all been concerned, like everybody, about the coal mine safety issue down there. senator byrd was getting tough with the coal mining industry toward the end there. >> he was very tough with the coal mining industry and particularly with regard to this tragedy. he spoke out strongly against it. against massey. against the violations massey had amazed and the consequences that resulted. he was very strong. he would have been moving on coal mine safety in the
aftermath of this disaster as we all will. >> not only that. but he spoke out against the environmental damage. the first statement i'd ever heard from a west virginia politician frightenly saying that the state could no longer be the servant of the coal industry. you had to face the fact the harm the coal industry was doing to the environment and the danger it posed to worker safety. >> what do you make of this idea, congressman, of people who decide they want to die in the united states senate? i mean, sometimes i think these fellows they stay to the very end. stennis did to the very end. a lot of them with the idea they're going to somehow, i don't know what, stay there till they die. is that tradition going to die with this fellow? with byrd? >> i don't know if it will die with senator byrd, but if anybody who should pass in the united states senate, it would be senator robert c. byrd. i mean, he was a part of that institution. he designed that institution for decades. and i know he felt strongly that he wanted to serve the people of west virginia just as long as he could.
and he did. he was active. he was talking. he was on the floor voting up until the end. >> i'm not sure that's a northern tradition. that's a southern tradition. northerners tend to have a rotation. you serve two or three terms. you're out. there's a lot more competition in the north historically. there's no sense the senate's a place to retire. >> certainly it was a southern tradition at the time he came in. i want to be sure to tell you, chris, about one thing that byrd did that is not known. it was the first time i began to think this man has got something special. it was in 1972, march of 1972 during the watergate hearings. before the formal, the irvin committee, before that, he was questioning pat gray, the head of the fbi. and he got gray to admit in march of '73 that -- he got pat gray to admit that he was taking orders from the white house. that night john dean heard that.
john dean decide he had to go to the u.s. attorney. that's what broke the case open. it was bob byrd's questioning of pat gray that elicited the crucial decision by john dean to go to the prosecutor. >> so the rats started leaving the ship. >> right. >> very happy moment. your book is great. i love these books. it's a whole series. if you want to read a book and get it done actually. not one of these door stops, you can actually finish this book. thank you charlie peters. one of the great journalists of our time. thank you congressman allen mollahan. up next, mike huckabee. grades the 2012 republican field. wait till you catch this. he trashes one guy, the one guy he thinks is going to beat him. everybody else he's sweet to. wait until you catch the politics of mike huckabee. the former priest, or minister, preacher. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] when we built our first hybrid, youtube didn't exist. and facebook was still run out of a dorm room. when we built our first hybrid, more people had landlines than cell phones, and gas was $1.75 a gallon.
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back to "hardball." now to the sideshow. first, the trouble with being too casual. here's informal banter between vice president joe biden and a milwaukee custard shop owner on friday. >> what do we owe you? don't worry, it's on the house. >> lower our taxes, call it even. >> say something nice instead of being a [ bleep ] all the time. >> the ice cream guy sounds like me. next, a picture that says 1,000 words. check out this scene from saturday. that's terry mcauliffe, his buddy bill clinton and the rolling stone mick jagger all watching an the world cup in south africa. you think the topic of al gore may have come up? the u.s. lost to ghana. it was the most watched soccer game in american history. with 19 million viewers.
still compare that to american football. more than five times as many people. 106 million watched the super bowl. finally, handicapping the race. on fox sunday, mike huckabee had some gracious things to say about his potential 2012 rivals all of them except for one. >> sarah palin. >> she's got the fire. the energy. i think a lot of republicans love her. i'm a big fan of mitch daniels. i think he could be one of our most qualified potential candidates. i love jeb bush. he's one of the smartest, he's one of the most articulate. >> mitt romney, you said he's always trying to figure out where he stands on issues. >> what i mean by that is even on the health care bill, the massachusetts health care bill essentially is the blueprint for obama care. that's going to be an issue he'll have to confront. there's no doubt in my mind he's running, and i think he's a formidable candidate. >> and i don't like him. if you had any doubts before, you can be sure that mitt romney is the 2012 front-runner. look at huckabee. he can't stand the guy.
the one guy huckabee dumped all over. mitt romney has been busy rolling out a bunch of endorsements up in maine. that brings the total number up to 24. you can bet romney will still have favors to call in once the presidential season rolls around. 24 states and counting for mitt romney's endorsement campaign. about half the map already. tonight's gop big number. keep your eye on romney. the afghan war, president obama changed the commander. but what's the mission? do we really have a strategy to win there are we staying because we don't want to admit the strategy hasn't worked? we're going to talk to two members of congress next. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. (laughing through computer) good night, buddy. good morning, dad. (announcer) oreo. milk's favorite cookie. [ laughter ] [ slamming ] [ engines revving ] [ tires screech ] [ engine revving ]
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relief well in the gulf of mexico are on schedule and should be completed within the next 18 days. but officials there are keeping a close eye on tropical storm alex supposed to grow to a category 3 hurricane before making landfall later this week. the storm center is not expected to approach the area of the oil spill but the outer edges could disrupp containment and clean-up operations. general stanley mcchrystal says he will retire from the army after 34 years of military service. federal authorities have arrested 11 alleged russian secret agents reportedly on long-term deep cover operations in the u.s. the supreme court knocked down a chicago law banning all handgun ownership even for home defense. lance armstrong has tweeted to his fans that this is going to be his last tour de france after winning seven straight yellow jerseys. now, we send you become to "hardball."
welcome back to "hardball." in the wake of general mcchrystal's dismissal, liberal democrats are challenging president obama on his war strategy in afghanistan. this is big stuff now. california congresswoman barbara lee has sent a letter to the president asking for a clear plan for troop withdrawal before congress votes on anymore more funding. she wrote we believe it's imperative for you, the president, to provide congress and the american people with a clear commitment and plan to withdraw u.s. forces from afghanistan. this should include not only a date certain for the initiation of this withdrawal, but a date for completion and a strategy to achieve it. i don't think she's going to get it. does president obama really have a clear strategy to win in afghanistan? u.s. congresswoman barbara lee a member of the foreign fairs
committee and shellie ping agree has also signed on to that letter. thank you both, congressmen. i was watching you yesterday. you made a strong case. but bottom lining this thing, do you think this president will ever give you what you want? a date for the beginning of the withdrawal? and a date for the final removal of all troops from afghanistan? >> i certainly hope so, chris. because remember, nine years ago, when we went into afghanistan, the president then was given authority to wage what i considered then an endless war and i did not vote for that resolution. but the american people were told that we were going into afghanistan to capture osama bin laden and to stop bin laden. and to stop al qaeda, excuse me. this is now the longest war in american history. the american people are weary, chris. we need to develop an exit strategy, a plan, and a time line to begin to safely redeploy our young men and women out of afghanistan. i did not support the july timetable because when you look
at what is happening in afghanistan, it's not getting any better, chris. our young men and women are exercising their job in a brilliant way. they're doing everything we're asking them to do. as a daughter of a military officer, i know the sacrifices that they're making and that their families are making. and so it's time that we have clarity, and that's why many members of congress are beginning to have the debates that we should have had nine years ago. >> let's go to congresswoman pingree. i know maine's a tough state. it's a very independent-minded state. it's not left. it's not right. i worked for ed muskie for years. i know that territory. they must be getting pretty skeptical about whether we can win anything. karzai is a crook. he stole the election. karzai is in bed with the indians. the pakistanis don't trust him. i mean i went through the whole list friday night. there's nothing good to say about this situation. is it -- aren't we being blind sighted? isn't core zygoing to cut a deal
around our back when we're still fighting? what's going on with him? >> first, thank you for mentioning maine and our great hero, mr. muskie. i am glad to know you have involvement with him in the past. this is a corrupt government. people are discouraged. congresswoman lee has been fighting on this for a long time. i'm a freshman member of congress. i ran against the war. a republican and democratic state where frankly, independence rules. people are concerned with the loss of lives, and people are concerned with the fact that this now costs us $7 billion a month. our strategy isn't working. that was clear when general mcchrystal had to resign and some of the things that we learned there. but the fact is people are increasingly concerned about this. we're not making progress. and i think the congresswoman is right. we have to have a lively debate here in congress before we approve more money for the president. >> george is a great writer. he's over there for the "new yorker." let's look at what he wrote. quote, obama is trapped not by his generals but by the war itself. it takes great political courage to face such a situation honestly. but if in a year's time the war
looks much the way it does now, or worse, obama will have to face the public, force the public to deal with the likely reality, americans leaving however slowly, afghanistan slipping into ethnic civil war, pakistan backing the pashtun side. al qaeda seizing the chance to expand its safe haven." my question, congresswoman lee, and i'm sure it's on your mind as well, whenever we leave, what assurance do we have that al qaeda won't come back into the country? that's an open ended question. it may mean we end now. it may mean we leave in 20 years. or we never leave. do we have any assurance that when we leave al qaeda won't come back where it was right before we got there? do we? >> chris, you remember general jones indicated that al qaeda is really is not in afghanistan. there are less than 100 al qaeda members in afghanistan. >> yeah, we kicked them out. >> al qaeda is in somalia. al qaeda is in yemen.
al qaeda is around the world. this organization is viral. we have to understand how to address terrorism in a real way because in fact, we cannot allow our national security to be at risk. i believe, like many believe, that by militarily occupying a country, we create more danger, more terrorists, and our security is not what it should be. we become less secure when you occupy a country. we have to do this differently. the president indicated early on that he was going to come up with a review in december, and then in july he was going to begin a drawdown. >> i know. >> i think it should have been much earlier. let me tell you, i think the longer we stay there if it gets better, they're going to come back and ask for more money. >> i agree with you. >> to create a longer time frame. if it gets worse, they're going to ask for more money also. it's an endless war and we have to put an end to it. >> you didn't answer my question.
won't al qaeda come back there. sebastian jung ser who is an expert over there, he said they'll come right back where they were before. they don't like it in the mountains of pakistan. they loved having the whole country to themselves. what's to stop them once we leave? is there an answer to that question? >> chris, let me say, first of all, we know that if we don't leave, our young men and women continue to be in harm's way. al qaeda as i said is global. al qaeda is in somalia, and i'll say this again, in yemen. we have to come up and our military experts have to help us develop a strategy that ensures our national security, that ensures that al qaeda is addressed and dealt with the way nine years ago the american people thought we were going to deal with it. this is a war that cannot go on forever and ever. the resolution again that i voted against was a blank check. it gave president bush and now any subsequent president the authority to continue to use force forever. >> i agree with all this. >> let me say, our military
experts have to help us come with a strategy to knock al qaeda out and to ensure our national security. that's the bottom line. that's what the president said he was going to do. it's about our own national security, chris. >> i know. >> let me try congressman pingree. what stops al qaeda from going right back into afghanistan once we leave? i'm still looking for an answer. >> it's a perfectly reasonable question. but let's say we don't know the answer. the question is are we succeeding in what we're doing now? i sit on the armed services committee. we had general petraeus in there last week. there are people who will say it's going to be better in maybe five years, the loss of life, the costs. we also have people who testify before our committee who say our presence there, as congresswoman lee was alluding to, our presence there exacerbates the situation. if it's not improving, if our strategy isn't working, if we continue to lose lives, and this is money our country can't afford in an economic downturn, what's the argument for staying? we don't know what the future will look like. >> i agree with the arguments. i still have questions. let's take a look. here's john mccain with another point of view. he's so invested in this war he's unlikely to change ever in life. but here he is talking about
this timetable. he does not want a timetable. here's john mccain yesterday. >> i'm against a timetable. in wars you declare when you're leaving after you've succeeded. by the way, no military adviser recommended to the president that he set a date of the middle of 2011. so it was purely a political decision. not one based on facts on the ground, not based on military strategy. >> let me ask you the bottom line to congresswoman lee and then congresswoman pingree. do you leave the president, or do you believe joe biden? because the president says we're not leaving basically in july. we're only going to start maybe moving out of there slowly. joe biden says large numbers will be coming out of there next july.
who is telling the facts? >> we have to have a timetable, chris. we have to make sure that our young men and women, some have served one, two, three, four tours of duty. we have to have clarity. we have to have a timetable. again, the president committed to december for a review. he committed to july to begin to end this. again, personally, we should end it quicker than that, but i think we have to have clarity from the white house. that's why many members of congress wrote a letter, and we're going to stand by that and continue with this debate that should have been done nine years ago. >> i like your letter, congresswoman pingree. i like your letter. i think it asks for clarity. do you think you'll get it? >> i don't know if we'll be successful this time but we have to continue to have this debate. we're not succeeding. as congresswoman lee said, this has gone on longer than any other war and we're not being successful. >> well, i think you're doing a good job here. thank you very much. congresswoman chellie pingree and congresswoman barbara 1993 thank you. >> up next, president obama's poll numbers are hitting new lows. but last week he started to get his groove back many people
crunch. general stanley mcchrystal was relieved of duty last week by president obama. tonight, mcchrystal's ending his military career. the general informed the army today that heal retire after 34 years. "hardball" back right after this. and save money on interest. does your credit card have blueprint? design your plan at 866 blueprint. shaky! shaky! and if you named your own price on car insurance, you could be picking up this tab yourself. so get allstate. [ dennis ] dollar for dollar nobody protects you from mayhem like allstate. stop it. hello? you spotted a million dollar accounting error that no one else noticed. that was pretty sweet. but you did have eight layers of sweet crunchy back up. what can i say? you're the man. or -- you know, the little dude. that's me.
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above washington? matt bayh writes for the "new york times." your reporting says that the president has been high hatting the democrats on the hill. they're all grubby, trying to get reelected, sweating it out. they've got to run this year. he doesn't. >> he doesn't. what's their attitude towards him about that? >> they had a meeting where all the leadership of the house democrats basically said to david axelrod and other aides, stop saying washington is broken. stop saying washington is -- >> what did they say back? >> we run washington. >> i know. as democrats in the majority everywhere in the congress. they run the house and senate. they run the agencies. they run all the departments. they are the government party can they deny they're the government party? >> well, they heard him. and i think the white house has done a couple of carefully orchestrated speeches to specifically to sort of calm that particular problem. but there's different aims, as you mentioned at the outside. which is he is not a party leader. he doesn't fancy himself a party politician. and his appeal in this era where parties are sort of losing their grip on the electorate is about his independence from that structure.
>> he runs for re-election as the incumbent. the government agencies that serve him and the serve the people. >> that's different from a party leader. you can run the government. and not be a party leader weave have five living men in the united states who served as president. every one of the other people who have had that job have worked in some party or strategic capacity on the web. even jimmy carter ran the 1974 midterm election campaign before running for president. this is a guy who did not get into the political process through his party. came at it from the outside. took on the establishment. never worked in the party structure. fundamentally he has less emotional interest, less actual intellectual inclination to lead a party structure. i think in that way he is an
emblem of a new generation of voters. >> what will he do this october? >> i think he will go out and do a lot? >> suppose he loses, if he loses the house, he loses subpoena power the does he know has years of investigations of his administration, if he loses the house? >> don't think they want to lultz the houlose the house. >> charlie cook thinks it is within reach. >> they could lose the house. he does in want to lose the house. >> how do you -- political daintiness he has about talking heads. he seems to not like anything to do with politics. >> i'm not sure who us is -- >> washington. >> he's pretty good with writers. i think they're -- i think in some ways they've been fairly open with the press. but i think the culture of washington as he discussed -- reyou think he likes maureen dowd? >> you think he likes frank rich? do you think he likes anybody
who writes a column about him? >> i think it is beneficial for him to be outside the culture of washington and to castigate the culture of washington. i think it's at least in part a genuine expression of how he feels. >> it's interesting we've had so many presidents -- nixon had a western white house. reagan was on vacation all the time in california. but that idea that you can like deny your role as party leader. i mean, i don't know, it seems to me this is going to be self-defeating. i think party are different from what nay used to be. he's the democrating leader. awe they would, not saying this is right. they would say leadership is to help the candidates update their campaigns. run grassroots centered campaigns, 21st century machinery rather than to go out and do the rallies. >> that's why they didn't -- >> i think. >> jeb bush, is he going to run
against them next time? >> says he's not, but i hope he's open to hearing it. >> is there any other heavy weight that can take on president obama and beat him right now? republican heavy weight? >> i have no idea. you're not voting right now. there are credible candidates. having interviewed jeb bush last week, he is an idea guy and very articulate on the direction of the country. >> no, no, no, i'm a big believer in jeb bush. i think he's got the personality, the style, and immensely popular at home. and comes off though he is a conservative as not a winger. >> that's right. that's right. he has this ability. this is the big -- you talk about. >> also a political natural, which mitt romney isn't. >> and you talk about square circles. in the republican party. >> do you think he's going to get talked into it or not? >> i don't think so right now because -- >> will he get talked into in 2012? >> because there are a lot of candidates -- >> i think he is because he's the only guy they've got. when we return, let me finish with a tribute of one of the
proudest votes of robert byrd. his vote against the war in iraq. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. ♪ [ male announcer ] regular kool-aid. goes almost 3 times further than soda. kool-aid. delivering more smiles per gallon. [ laughter ] [ slamming ] [ engines revving ] [ tires screech ] [ engine revving ] [ male announcer ] before you take it on your road trip... we take it on ours. [ children laughing ] this summer put your family in an exceptionally engineered mercedes-benz now for an exceptional price during the summer event. like the 2010 c-class, an iihs top safety pick.
fathers found themselves in the late 18th century, but they did and we're fortunate for that. and i love the symbol of the flag, the rattlesnake against the field of yellow. don't tread on me it warned our enemies. that included especially the british government in london. this morning, a man died who treasured this country and that flag. for those reasons, senator robert byrd opposed both wars, both wars with iraq. for the first time, the nation's considering a preemptive strike against a sovereign state and i will not be silent. and on the eve he said "we proclaim a doctorate of preemption. we say the united states has the right to turn its fire power on any corner of the globe which might be suspect on the war on terrorism. there is no credible evidence that connects saddam hussein to 9/11. i was personally stunned and remain in awe that a president of george w. bush's abilities
was able to take the attack on us of 9/11 and upturn two plus centuries of american doctrine. we don't attack, but if you attack, we attack back. we oppose aggression. we are not the aggressors. president bush and his cohorts were able to construct a new doctrine. if we don't like you or your policies, we attack. if you cause trouble in your region, we attack. and millions went for it, hook, line, and sinker. senator byrd did not. that he was so alone out there makes the war song so frightening. if someone with bush's ability can make america forget its most basic, time-honored standards. it's one thing to send us off to afghanistan, bush was able to and then drive the entire country off to an altogether different direction. that's what bush did. it's interesting that he could not woo two people in his charge to iraq. robert byrd and edward kennedy. both would say their vote against bush's war was the proudest of their care